This storyboard, made for the documentary director of the documentary "Eruption Aftermath", will go over the catastrophic event of the eruption of Mount St. Helens that caused primary succession in the surrounding ecological environment.
By Habib Jaffer, Period 3 Biology, Ms. Rizzacasa
Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18th, 1980. As May 18 approached, Mount St. Helens' activity did not show any change from the pattern of the preceding month. The rate of bulge movement, sulfur dioxide emission, and ground temperature readings did not reveal any changes indicating a catastrophic eruption. Mount St. Helens' eruption was a 5 on the "Volcanic Explosivity Index", or VEI, which is very high considering the fact that there are only eight categories.
When did Mount St. Helens Erupt?
The eruption of Mount St. Helens was initially triggered by an earthquake, which lead to a landslide, which all in all, lead to the volcanic eruption of the mountain. After the eruption of Mount St. Helens was over, a total of 57 lives were lost. Despite the fact that the homeowners living near the highly active volcano were warned leading up to the mountain's eruption that they were at risk and urged to leave, many decided to stay and not listen to the officials because they refused to vacate their homes.
How Many Lives Were Lost Due to the Eruption of Mount St. Helens and Why Did it Erupt?
Ecological succession is a series of gradual changes that occur in a community following a disturbance. The time scale can be decades, or even millions of years after a mass extinction.
What is "Ecological Succession"?
Ecological succession can take one of two forms, primary succession or secondary succession. Primary Succession is the assembly of ecosystems on barren landscapes following severe disturbances that leave little or no biological legacy, for example a lava flow or landslide. Secondary Succession occurs after a developed area has been disrupted and some plants and animals still exist. It is usually faster than primary succession because soil, seeds, roots, and some underground vegetation still exist. In the case of the Mount St. Helen eruption, it was primary succession because the lava and ash from the volcanic eruption left little to no biological legacy.
How Was the Eruption of Mount St. Helens Ecological Succession?
Despite the fact that the ecological environment around Mount St. Helen's was wiped out, it quickly recovered as a result of primary succession and created an essentially new and unique ecosystem. It is now blooming with plant life and wildlife. Even if many feel that the eruption of Mount St. Helens created the end of an ecological system, it was in fact a fresh start and a resetting a of a biological clock that allowed for great changes to occur in the area. Scientists can now see better than ever how powerful ecological succession is in resetting an ecosystem that goes from essentially no biological life, from something like an eruption which was what happened in this case, to full forests, plant life, and revitalized wildlife.
What is the Ecological Environment Around Mount St. Helens Like Now?